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Forum addresses migration issues
By Li Xiaowei (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-10-25 05:53

By SHANGHAI: China is willing to strengthen co-operation with Asian and Pacific countries to properly address the issue of refugees, displaced persons and illegal migration, according to Shen Guofang, assistant minister of Foreign Affairs.

He added that China has provided proper protection to nearly 300,000 Indo-Chinese refugees for many years, and cracked down hard on transnational criminal activities such as people smuggling and human trafficking,

Shen made the remarks at the 10th plenary meeting of the Inter-Governmental Asia-Pacific Consultations on Refugees, Displaced Persons and Migrants (APC) held in Shanghai from October 24th to 25th.

"In order to properly address the issue of refugees, displaced persons and migration, all countries of the international community should first of all jointly commit themselves to safeguarding world peace and stability, vigorously promote the realization of MDGs (the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals) and common development, and bridge the gap between the rich and poor, with a view to completely removing the root causes of the problem," said Shen.

International co-operation based on the principle of "international solidarity, responsibility sharing, mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit," and giving full play to the role of international organizations such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), International Organization for Migration and regional arrangements, are also essential in tackling the issue, added Shen.

UNHCR remains fully committed to its role in support of the APC. It hopes to see an active work plan developed by the APC member states on issues such as tackling the asylum-migration nexus, building or enhancing national protection capabilities and identifying and implementing durable solutions, said Neil Wright, the UNHCR regional representative for Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the South Pacific.

The APC was established in 1996 to provide a forum for the discussion of issues relating to population movements. China holds the 2005 APC chairmanship.

(China Daily 10/25/2005 page2)

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